New to an American summer and the beach

Prakriti Adhikari

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All throughout my childhood, I have only seen the sun rise from behind the hills and rays of light slowly peek from gaps between trees. As the day passed, the sun slowly disappeared behind the trees again. I never saw the sun rising from the ocean and disappearing behind it. 

I was born and grew up in a valley. So, all I ever really saw were the hills and the distant snow-clad mountains glistening red and orange with each sunrise and sunset. The biggest body of water my eyes ever saw before coming to the United States was Phewa Lake, which has an area of 1.71 square miles. 

The culture of spending time on the beach in the summer is different to me. So is the idea of having an almost three-month holiday during the summer. It is one of those culture shocks, which took me a little while to understand. 

However, I really love this way of relaxing and spending quality time in the ocean, calming my mind and body with every wave of water hitting the shore. This is my first summer in the United States, so I don’t really have an experience about the beach and summer itself. I believe spending time on the beach has a similar therapeutic effect as seeing the reflection of the snowy mountain in a lake. 

The ocean was something I only saw on the television, and the only stories about the beach were the ones I read in books. The first time I saw the ocean and walked barefoot on the beach was on Galveston Beach before I came to Louisiana to start my undergraduate studies. Coming from a landlocked country, that was a unique experience for me. 

The evening when I saw the sun slowly hiding below the ocean, as if diving inside it, was a majestic beauty my eyes encountered. Half an hour of walking with my cousin on the beach became one of the best memories of my life. 

The average maximum temperature in Kathmandu Valley, where I grew up, is about 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The summer lasts for only about two months, and as someone who has always had long holidays during summer, you might be surprised to hear that I never really had summer holiday. But, I am really looking forward to having a great experience during my first summer here. Summer gives people joy in life. It is one of those excuses for people to come out of the hectic schedules and spend time with their family and friends. 

Running after work every day makes life monotonous. Like everything else, our human brain also needs to be recharged, and summer is the best medication for it. Students, on the other hand, utilize this break to earn a little money for their tuition and fees for the entire year. In one way, the vacation not only gives students time to refresh their minds from studies but also gives them an option to be independent.

Summer not only gives people the joy of sun bathing and beautiful tanned skin, it also gives them memories that can be cherished for life. Nature has the strength of charging mind and body with energy, so the ocean has that power. This summer, I also look forward to having an experience of going to the beach. 

I want to have stories I can share with my friends back in Nepal. I want to add more shells to the five I brought from Galveston Beach back in August of 2017. I want to have memories that will make me calm when I am struggling with tests, assignments and deadlines. Having come from the opposite end of the world, I am really excited for my first summer in the United States.

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